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Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Awards Nearly $200,000 in Grants

Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ARLINGTON, VA / NOVEMBER 12, 2014 - The Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation awarded $193,924 in grants to provide funding for innovative oral health programs aimed at encouraging changes in consumer behavior, improving access and enhancing the efficiency of the oral health care system. Each of the following nine programs received as much as $25,000 in DTA Foundation grant funding.

Virginia Oral Health Coalition - $21,848

Pediatric Oral Health Advocate Program

Pediatricians who incorporate oral health services, such as risk assessments, fluoride varnish and dental referrals, can expand the number of children accessing early dental care and lay a foundation for a lifetime of optimal oral health. The Pediatric Oral Health Advocate Program will use a two-pronged approach to increase the number of pediatricians in Virginia who incorporate oral health into their well-child visits by providing both practicing pediatricians and students/faculty in pediatric residency programs with the skills and context to offer oral health services, such as education, assessment, fluoride varnish and referrals. Additionally, this program will maximize its educational component by training regional oral health advocates to provide Virginia-specific technical assistance to local pediatricians so they can seamlessly and efficiently integrate oral health services and billing systems. Faculty advocates within partner schools will also be trained to sustain oral health education for future classes of pediatric residents.

Children's Dental Health Project - $25,000

Oral Health Preventive Services by Non-Dental Providers

Currently, 40 state Medicaid programs offer reimbursement for non-dental professionals to provide preventive dental services, such as the application of fluoride varnish, oral health assessments, and referral to a dental home. Non-dental providers include, but vary by state and are not limited to physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Although these flexible, innovative policies are in place, it is not known whether providers are actually making use of these new service opportunities. This project aims to establish a baseline assessment by analyzing billing and treatment codes. The next step in this project will be to explore the state policy differences and provider behavioral barriers that inhibit or influence provision of these services. The final phase is to implement the recommendations through national and state technical assistance to expand access to dental care. Through this analysis, CDHP will identify recommendations for expanding use of existing Medicaid policies to increase oral health services and ultimately improve the oral health of children at highest risk for tooth decay. 

Bassett Healthcare Network School-Based Health Program - $25,000

Integration of Oral Health into a School-Based Health (SBH) Program

The School-Based Health Program (SBH) will be a laboratory for integrating oral health services into a pediatric practice. Once the integration tools and protocols are developed the effort will be spread to other practices providing children's health services within the Bassett Healthcare Network. The project focus will be: oral health assessment, fluoride varnish application, referrals to dentist as needed and treatment for students at the levels Pre-K through second grade. This project will fund a part-time staff liaison responsible for the design and implementation of a caries-risk assessment tool that is tied to the electronic medical record. The project will be developed and implemented by a SBH team of oral health champions comprised of a dentist, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant and dental hygienist.

Oral Health America - $25,000

Tooth Wisdom for Pharmacists: Helping Older Adults with Oral Health

The goal of the Tooth Wisdom for Pharmacists project is to create an information system designed to educate pharmacists to better serve older adults seeking information related to oral health. This system will include: an oral health curriculum that will be taught during a regional professional development summit for pharmacists; an easily accessible online toolkit that contains educational information designed to assist pharmacists with providing information about oral health-related topics to older adults; and plain-language materials (one page consumer sheets) that can be readily available and dispensed at the pharmacy counter for older adults seeking to educate themselves.

University of Maryland - $11,641

Passport to a Healthy Mouth for Me and My Baby

The purpose of this pilot project is to develop two oral health passports to assist low income gravid women and women who have children six years of age and younger make appropriate choices regarding their own oral health and that of their children. The first passport will focus on the mother’s oral health. It will teach mom what she needs to do to attain and maintain good oral health; help her understand how her oral health impacts her infant’s oral health; and, guide her to dental appointments during pregnancy. This passport will embed oral health into general health guidelines for pregnant women. The second passport will focus on the oral health of children from birth through age six. It will be a guide for mom to keep her baby cavity free. This passport will provide guidance on the importance of good oral health for her child and timing of critical oral home-care for the infant including cleaning the infant’s mouth, checking for white spot lesions on primary teeth, brushing the child’s teeth, and timing of dental visits.

Indiana University School of Dentistry - $25,000

Veterans' Employability - the Dental Connection

The program’s goal is to identify homeless veterans who have missing front teeth and are at a disadvantage in the job interview process especially for jobs in the public eye. Each of the veterans chosen for the dental program also register for job training services. Through several screening programs the Indiana University School of Dentistry has selected 18 veterans, all of whom have been endorsed by their agency as being honorably discharged, 60 years of age or younger, and employable and looking for employment. The selected veterans are currently being treated at Indiana University School of Dentistry by third and fourth year dental students, and are being welcomed and helped by first and second year students who serve as patient navigators. This program has the potential to be replicated in other schools of dentistry. 

The University of New Haven - $10,435

Your Mouth is the Gateway to Good Health

The University of New Haven (UNH) Dental Hygiene Program will launch a pilot project called Your Mouth is the Gateway to Good Health. It will collaborate with The Mary Wade Home and Tower One Tower East, two senior residential facilities in the city of New Haven where adults are at highest risk for dental problems. The project will improve the health of an under-served and vulnerable older adult population and assure access to culturally competent and quality oral health services. The team of student dental hygienists and  supervising dental hygiene educators will offer outreach, education and oral health screening services to more than 250 seniors, provide easy access to preventive dental services at the UNH campus-based dental clinic, and make referrals for simple dental emergency services to community dentists (denture reline, simple tooth extraction, broken tooth). In-service workshops will be presented to direct care staff (RNs, LPNs, CNAs) at each residential home facility to prepare them to be better able to reinforce daily oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing with the older adults in their care.

Dr. Angie's Dental Health Exchange - $25,000

Phase II Piloting the Program

The Dr. Angie's Dental Health Exchange (DADHE) links low-income adults in need of dental care to community dental care providers who will provide care at no cost in exchange for volunteer service by qualified patients at not-for-profit organizations. The DADHE works closely with ER staff who refer qualified patients to the program which assists them in seeking appropriate volunteer service and assigns them to a dentist to obtain a permanent solution to their dental pain. Qualified patients will attend a one-hour patient education program and receive one-on-one oral health instructions, complete required community service, and receive treatment from assigned dentist. DADHE will gather and collect patient information, conduct patient education and counseling, manage the solicitation of nonprofit organizations for volunteer opportunities and coordinate appropriate service for each patient, coordinate the scheduling appointments for patients, solicit dentists and other dental providers, work with ERs regarding the program, and collect data and disseminate outcomes. Dentists will treat a specified number of patients in their office, provide patient information electronically, and provide follow-up treatment if needed.   

For the second year, a grant jointly funded by the DTA Foundation and the Dental Lifeline Network, provides support for a project designed to improve the oral health of medically-at-risk or special needs patients. This year’s recipient is the Virginia Dental Association Foundation.

Virginia Dental Association Foundation - $25,000

Give Seniors a Smile: Preventive Dental Care in Long-Term Care Facilities Pilot

Through the pilot program, the Virginia Dental Association Foundation plans to show how routine dental hygiene services can reduce health care costs and decrease reliance on emergency interventions, while also serving as a model for other communities seeking a solution to the lack of oral care in nursing homes. The 12-month project proposes placing a full-time oral health care provider, such as a dental hygienist or assistant, in each of three carefully selected residential care facilities. These dental professionals, who will be trained in working with geriatric populations, will utilize emerging technologies to screen seniors for dental disease and oral cancer, create and implement a dental hygiene treatment plan for each resident, and refer patients to dentists for further evaluation and treatment, as needed. The providers also will monitor progress in achieving the project’s stated objectives by conducting periodic patient satisfaction surveys with seniors who are cognitively able to participate, as well as assisting with data collection on health care costs and dental-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

The DTA Foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million dollars in grant funding to more than 60 different innovative projects designed to increase access to oral health care since the inception of the grant program in 2002. Past recipients have used DTA Foundation seed money for innovative programs designed to improve the access to and productivity of the oral health care system by identifying, nurturing, and leveraging promising projects. Visit the DTA Foundation website for more information.

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